Heading back into the studio, pots of glaze lined up on the table, all geared up to paint Jane’s pots; what a treat. Another good way to get back into things if you got out of them is to go in sideways. Choose another medium.
Finding myself on the metro again, drawing, discretion has to be exercised, some people don’t like being drawn but most I suspect are intrigued by the activity. While others put on their earphones and tune into their iphones I take out my smallest sketchpad and a black felt liner; sometimes I keep my sunglasses on, not a deliberate thing to mask where I am looking exactly but it helps sometimes. The person next to me watches intently, only once did someone get adamant “draw me, draw me!” Sometimes smiles are exchanged. I am infinitely challenged by this activity. In the studio people are often completely absent both from the studio, and then from the work that I make there, but on the metro I like to capture the different moods and aspects of the commuter. I like to think it is a way of connecting with my fellow travellers, and yes, sometimes one does pick up on hidden joy, anxiety or even grief. But its also a way to stay completely in the moment, taking me away from the concerns or worries of what happens next. And so a forty minute metro ride passes by enjoyably.
Later in Robinson Cruesoe bookshop I find a copy of a monograph of drawings of Antonio Lopez Garcia edited by Francisco Calver Serraller. I had copied this quote into my sketchbook during a recent browse:
“I didn’t know it at the time, but i had hit upon the only thing that matters:
the ability to express an emotion that you first must feel, which is separate from the skill and the accuracy which allows you to copy the real world.”
Here is a lifetime of great drawing, drawings that combine infinite precision with the subtlest suggestion. And all the while one is struck by the humility of the artist. He never stopped learning; exploring…and even in their printed form these are drawings that impinge on one later in the day as one watches the treasured forms of people moving around in their daily lives.
In the same bookshop, the painter, Neo Rauch’s sketchbook, and again what joy to flip through the artist’s most immediate interpretations of his world, alive as his vision is, with references to Art History, contemporary life, the particularites of his culture and his own peculiar way of seeing.
Earlier in the week I watched a video of Ai Wei Wei on Tate Channel. I enjoyed his immersion and absolute commitment to art as life, and his all embracing explorations through different media, but I was surprised when at the end of the interview someone asked him about his drawings. Would he ever exhibit them? No, he said, he doesn’t draw anymore; his mother has all his old drawings…why draw when you have access to so many other media, suggesting in his reply that the time of drawing has gone.